The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament were today taking evidence on the Scottish Government’s amendments to the crofting community right to buy at Stage 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill.
Eilidh Ross MacLellan will be looking at the relative crofting provisions in a little more detail in a future blog post. In the meantime I will just draw your attention to a particular highlight from today’s proceedings.
It was pointed out that Section 92 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows the Scottish Land Court four weeks from the hearing date to give its reasons in respect of a valuation appeal. A proposed amendment will extend that period to eight weeks. Should that extended timescale not be sufficient, the Land Court is to notify all parties of the date on which it will provide a written decision.
Derek Flyn gave his view on this:-
What sanction is available to parties if the Land Court does not do as instructed in the legislation? No sanction is included. If there is no result within the eight-week period and no information about when the written statement will be produced, should my friend the new chairman of the Land Court, Lord Minginish, be hung, drawn and quartered?
A good point. Derek went on to say:-
How the Land Court goes about its business should be in its rules and regulations. If it is in the bill, nothing will be able to be done about it if it goes wrong. It will just cause a legal problem that will go into the courts and stay there.
Hopefully the Scottish Government will endeavour to avoid such legal problems.
It was decided to ask the Minister about this one.
I trust Lord Minginish will not be in jeopardy of any penalties, especially of the medieval variety, by the time the Bill becomes an Act.
Read the Official Report of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee – 18 February 2015 [PDF]
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The possible punishment proposal, should the Land Court err, seems a little excessive, perhaps facing the wall outside the head-masters study for, say, half-an-hour, should suffice?